Iran (MNN) – We’ve been hearing how the Church in Iran is the fastest growing church in the world. But the shape of the Church is actually underground and in the form of numerous, individual house churches—and the Iranian government wants to shut them down.
Church Growth Despite Challenges
Ironically, the Iranian government created this underground movement when it made it illegal for Farsi speakers to attend physical churches. When that happened, everyone became an evangelist and house churches began popping up across the country.
“One of the leaders we met, he said, ‘I used to have 100 people that came to my church and when they closed the Farsi speaking churches, now we had 100 house churches and 100 house church planters’…so when they shut one down, they just create five more,” Heart4Iran’s *David shares.
Now, those believers are being persecuted. Iran is ranked #10 on Open Doors USA’s **World Watch List. But, there’s also a disconnect amongst believers in Iran. Most of them think they’re alone.
“We’ve found out that there could be a house church here and two, three blocks away there’s another house church. They have no idea about each other,” David explains. “So, there’s no common communication happening on the ground. So, through [our] satellite TV [channel], we’re able to get those resources to them, equip them, and train them to be more successful in their house church.”
Resourcing The Church
For the last few years, Heart4Iran has been producing a house-church specific satellite TV program. This program teaches people how to start their own church.
From the program reports, Heart4Iran has found that 70 percent of the people registered for the class are currently trying to start their own house church. And at least 30 percent of its total general viewers are trying to start their own house churches, too.
“The people are hungry for this. They’re hungry for the resources and they say, ‘With your help, with your resources, we’re going to do this. We’re going to start our own church,’” David shares.
But, what’s driving this hunger? David says it’s the contrast the people see between Islam and the Islamic Regime running Iran compared to the love of Christ and the Gospel. In fact, Heart4Iran has hundreds of people calling in daily, asking to be told more about the Gospel and Jesus.
With that said, Iran is nearing a turning point. In recent months, there have been uprisings across the country and the people are tired of the current government’s way of doing things. But this air of change is stirring questions as to how the Iranian people’s restlessness will affect the churches in Iran.
So please, let’s pray for our family in Iran and the house church movement there. Pray for their perseverance, their faith, and the Church’s growth.
Also, ask God to encourage them, to protect them, and for the harvest in Iran to continue.
And finally, praise God for what He is doing in Iran and through His people there.
“Believers are at risk every day when they meet. It’s literally against the law for them to gather in their homes, open a Bible, pray together, take communion together—all the things we take advantage of in the United States—it’s against the law for them to do that,” David explains.
“And so, just pray for them because it’s a lot of pressure on these situations. But at the same time, it’s a really glorious moment. People that come out tell us about how glorious it is to be a member of a house church and how God just shows up there.”
*Name changed for security reasons.
**Open Doors USA’s World Watch List ranks the 50 top countries where Christian persecution is most severe.